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What We All Already Know Anyway

March 6, 2006

This morning’s NYT
reports on new documents released from
the illegal detention camp at Guantanamo Bay
. A contradiction
in this article, which tries hard to remain unbiased, reveals
something that we all know about Guantanamo anyway but which
deserves to be pointed out again.

In one corner, we have those prisoners who are apparently being
detained for no good reason, such as the chicken farmer
Abdur Sayed Rahman; then there are those such as
Ghassan Abdallah Ghazi al-Shirbi, who in his “Combatant Status Review Tribunal,”
“unleashed a tirade against capitalism, America, homosexuality, Israel,
support for Saddam Hussein in his war against Iran, and the more recent war against Iraq,”
readily claiming the status of “enemy combatant.”

The distinction between these two cases in the NYT article is based
entirely on the “evidence” presented, which is “clear cut” in the
latter case and uncertain in the former. This “evidence” is, precisely,
the record of what each detainee has said about his situation.

The article goes on to read:

“The files are replete with retractions. Detainees who had confessed to
having ties to Al Qaeda or the Taliban or terrorism frequently told the
tribunals that they had only made those admissions to stop beatings or
torture by their captors.

‘The only reason for my original statements is because I was tortured when I
was captured,” said a former mechanical engineering student from Saudi Arabia
who was accused of training at a Qaeda camp in Afghanistan. “In Kabul, an Afghan
interrogator beat me and told me they would kill me if I didn’t talk. They shot
and killed someone in front of me and said they would do the same if I didn’t
cooperate.'”

That is: the entire basis for the article’s attempt at a distinction
between those who “belong” in the illegal detention camp and those
who are likely innocent is undercut by this later reference to statements
produced while the detainees were under torture.

That is: THERE HAS BEEN NO DUE PROCESS IN THE DETENTION CAMP
(this is the part we all already know),
AND DETAINEE CONFESSIONS HAVE BEEN EXTRACTED THROUGH THE USE
OF TORTURE
(this is the other part we also all already know),
MAKING ANY DISTINCTION BETWEEN RIGHT AND WRONG,
GUILT AND INNOCENCE, ALMOST ENTIRELY ARBITARY, AND ENSURING
THE PERPETUITY OF THE CAMP.

To restate: there is no end in sight to the illegal detention and torture at Guantanamo
because, precisely, there is illegal detention and torture at Guantanamo.

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8 Comments
  1. March 6, 2006 11:17 AM

    Or a shitload of talk and no corrective action is being taken. Did you ever dream that our country, yours and mine, would be torturing human beings? Me neither. This is a nightmare!

  2. March 6, 2006 12:06 PM

    Whether they were combatants before or not, I’d bet they’re now more likely to become combatants based upon their treatment.

    There will be no end in sight to the “war” on terrorism because, our actions in the “war” on terrorism create terrorists where before they were not.

    Nice work, Fehlleistungen.

    “If you fucking beat this prick long enough, he’ll tell you he started the goddamn Chicago fire, now that don’t necessarily make it fucking so!” –Nice Guy Eddie

  3. March 6, 2006 1:53 PM

    Glad to find your blog, montag. A link to newsday though???

  4. March 6, 2006 2:23 PM

    Thanks for stopping by, Lily. I should point out that this is my and Fehlleistungen’s blog. “Schismism” posts here as well. (Author’s name appears near the top of each post.)

    I don’t have a strong allegience to the Newsday link. I think I’d read some good stuff over there one week, when I also happened to update links. Arguments against it?

  5. March 6, 2006 3:01 PM

    While we were saying we were winning hearts and minds we were beating them out of the people and that’s just a bad idea.

    Hell yes we are creating enemies, how else can we keep this pretend war on terror going and as a result keep Americans scared sh*tless. As long as they are scared sh*tless they won’t pay any attention to the disaster our country is in today.

  6. March 6, 2006 11:30 PM

    Pissed Off Patricia: Nope. Maybe I was naive, but I never imagined that the U.S. government would not only detain and torture but make detaining a torturing a matter of policy debate. But hey, don’t worry, We Do Not Torture, right?

  7. March 7, 2006 4:58 AM

    I believe the government regards Guantanamo as nothing but a state of mind. There’s really nothing there, you know. Nothing goes on there. How can it? There’s no one there! In fact, it doesn’t even exist. So what’s your problem?

  8. March 7, 2006 10:50 AM

    They are going to keep doing it. This feels more and more like 1984. Going forward all references by the US administration to torture shall be read/heard as “torture” with the kind of quotation marks around it that we people use to denote “sarcasm…”

    Here is the latest offense.

    “The U.S. abhors torture and categorically rejects its use,” Gonzales said, adding that where appropriate the U.S. sought assurances from foreign governments before transporting detainees there, and did not transport anyone “to a country if we believe it more likely than not that the individual would be tortured.”

    Gonzales also said the U.S. did not use airports in Europe or anywhere else to move detainees for the purpose of torture.

    “The United States has always been and remains a great defender of human rights and the rule of law,” Gonzales said. “I regret that there has been concern or confusion about our commitment to the rule of law.” —Gonzales Defends U.S. Policy on Torture

    Norbizness has a good post on all this that seems to pick up where this discussion leaves off.

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